art · DIY · Home Decor

How to Make a Display cabinet on the CHEAP – $28.00 total

I promise you, this display cabinet only cost us $28.00 from start to finish. Les Gains, my husband, makes things. Lots and lots of little things. If he does not have a guitar in his hands, then you will find him in his studio creating fabulous little treasures.

resin figures sculpted by Les gains

Above is a crowd of funny little guys that Les made with resin. He first sculpts figures out of modeling clay, then he makes molds, then pours resin into the molds. When the resin has set up, Les unmolds them and then paints each figure.   THEN he assembles his elements into really cool little sculptures. As much as I am fascinated by his work, a lot of little things spread all over the house drives me nuts. I like to group small things together to form a larger display unit.

IKEA cabinet

Several years ago, I bought two of these cabinets from IKEA. The photo on the left shows the cabinet with the clear glass door open. Sporting adjustable shelves, it is perfect for small collectibles. Generally, Les works small. Most of his items range in height from 1″ to 9″.
As prolific as he is, the IKEA cabinets were full in no time at all. I needed a larger display shelf that would compliment the style of the old cabinet and our eclectic home decor.
So, off we went on yet another mission. Seeking cheap building materials, Les and I scoured junk yards and thrift stores. We finally found exactly what we needed at Khules, a salvage store in Prescott.
From the salvage yard, we bought a large galvanized utility box. Probably some type of electrical junction box? After finding the box, the rest was easy to assemble.

Knock-off IKEA cabinet


This photo shows the larger, finished box and a close up on the right so that you can see the side detail. It’s easy to make – just follow our step-by-steps listed here.

  1.  (after a thorough cleaning) Drill holes into the sides of the box. You will need two sets of holes on each side of the box for each shelf.
  2. Cut 2 rods for each shelf that extend past the sides of the box. Thread them into the holes cross ways.
  3. Cut plastic shelves to fit inside the cabinet. I also bound the edges with copper tape and used an antiquing solution to age the tape.
  4. Finally, we got little caps to finish off the raw edges of the rods that stuck out of the cabinet sides. The whole assembly only cost only $28.00

Les Gains' art figures
altered art sculptures from Les Gains
altered art by Les Gains

Here are a few of Les’ sculptures. He solders, shapes wire, polymer clay, resin and found objects to make wonderfully detailed figures.

DIY · Dollhouse miniatures · tutorials

Make a Vintage Look Miniature Mirror

I love the collections of vintage etched mirrors that have been featured in my home decor magazines lately. A pretty photo in a blog that was featured in Artful Blogging got me off the couch. You can find the owner of the photo and cool blog here. http://chateau-chic.blogspot.com/2013/03/pre-springifying-mantel.html

These mirrors fit right in with the shabby chic look that will be the focus of my little refurbished cottage dollhouse. (You haven’t seen it on this blog yet, but you will- soon. 😊) Spurred to action, I HAD to find a way to duplicate this look in miniature. And how cool would it be to make a tutorial about it as well?

Finally, after several false starts, I found my materials and method. Read on for the how-to.

Practice pieces of mirror plastic with a hot soldering iron.

You can find mirror plastic at Hobby Lobby, JoAnne’s or online. It looks like a real glass miniature when viewed through the eyes of a miniaturist. LOL, the rest of you will just have to suspend disbelief.

ACRYLIC MIRROR SHEET - CLEAR EXTRUDED MIRROR 0.12x12x12

I also have a soldering iron ( a wood burning tool will work as well. ) A printed picture of an etched mirror serves as my cut guide.

I practiced at each step to be sure that my iron was not too hot or too cool. If your iron is too hot, it will melt the plastic too much and pull out stringers. You can see those all over my practice pieces.

The basic steps are to cut a piece of mirror plastic into the shape that you like. Plug in the hot iron and wait a couple seconds for it to heat up. Then carefully and lightly touch down and “draw” the design onto the plastic. My iron would get too hot so that it pulled out plastic stringers, so I would unplug it to cool a little, test to make sure that it was not too hot and then draw onto my real mirror.

Yes, I had a lot of boo-boos. You can tell by my practice pieces. My mirrors also got a little smaller as I had to cut off mistakes. But at least I didn’t waste too much of the mirror plastic. 😅

The results – a variety of miniature faux etched mirrors

After a couple hours of experimenting I had several mirror variations that will be cute in my shabby chic cottage. That will be debuted later this year.

Try it and let me know what adorable minis you turn out with this method.

DIY · Dollhouse miniatures · Free Printables · tutorials

Time to make another miniature chandelier!

Are you hooked on rustic French country style? I am too! I just can’t get enough of it, so when a gorgeous antique, wooden French chandelier jumped off the page of my home decor magazine… well,  I just knew that I  had to try to make it. NO! Not full sized, silly.  In 1/12 scale miniature for my little shabby chic cottage.

Antique-French-country-chan
Here is the chandelier taped up to the bedroom ceiling of my old English Tudor cottage just to show you how cute it is when lit. The walls and timbers that you see in the background are not finished yet, so no judging. 😉

The original chandelier in the magazine was made of wood and had a white washed look to it.  I wanted to make my fixture look even more rustic, like wood and old black metal that had been painted white, but has rusted and chipped over time. I think that it shows upscale, chic distress, don’t you?

Continue reading “Time to make another miniature chandelier!”
DIY · Dollhouse miniatures

Dollhouse build: second floor

The second floor of my dollhouse is coming along. I did get a little distracted from it and it’s all Les’ fault. He found a completed dollhouse in Hobby Lobby for an amazing price in the clearance section. The store was shipped two of the same display models so they wanted to dump one of them. Les excitedly brought it home for me. THEN, a couple days later, he was at the thrift store when he spotted another house. So he brought it home. YIKES! We have little room for all these houses, but what fun.

I’ve already stripped the thrift store house right down to the studs and will rebuild it into an old English Tudor cottage. The other house is a three story Victorian that I’m going to rebuild into a French Creole type house that you would find in New Orleans. Ah yes, big plans  – but I need to focus on this first house for now.

Soooo, the second floor bedrooms have already gone through several coats of paint in several different colors. I have finally made a decision as to which direction that I want to go with these rooms. The girl’s room will be this kind of pink-peachy blush color. The “wallpaper” is scrapbook paper. I made that patterned area a little high because I am envisioning some really cool artwork above the rail on the solid part of the room.

girl's-roomI won these two little unfinished chests in an E-BAY auction. Yes, I know that I said that I would build all of my own furniture, but I just cannot pass up a deal. Anyway, I think that I’ll paint them in the ombre style with the darkest color on the bottom drawer. I’ll leave the body of the chest natural with only a light, clear gloss coat on them. The bed will go between the chests. (As of right now, that is.  LOL  It’s all subject to change.)

On a side note of thriftiness: I found two brand new, in box,  4 foot wide x 2″, wood blinds for only $15.00 total at my local Restore. I cut them apart and now I have all kinds of strips of building material for my minis. Yay!recycled-blinds

For the master, I’ve decided to use the blinds, cut into little pieces, to make raised panel wainscoting. The wainscoting will be painted gloss white and the top part of the room will be painted a very pale grey. I also cut up the blinds to make a little window seat in what will be the reading nook.recycled-blinds-panels

You will probably remember that I was in the process of partitioning off the master bedroom to add a closet. For a while there I could not decide between a closet or a bathroom, but the closet won because I wanted a fairly large area to display tiny shoes, luggage, jewelry, toiletries, clothes and so on. I’m happy with the final shelving and think that it will work out well. A wall mirror will go into that open, middle space in the shelving.closet

Today, I will continue the work on the bedroom and get it painted and ready to install lighting.

Here’s to you and my wish that you have a happy, imaginative day as well.

sandy-signature

 

art

Painting big bold flowers

Bold flower paintings are all around us these days, so I decided to jump on the fun wagon. It all started with my niece wanting a large painting above her bed. We searched all of the stores in her area and could find nothing that she could afford. The search wasn’t wasted on me since I developed a good idea of what kinds of paintings that she gravitated toward. Expensive ones, LOL, but based on what she liked, I decided to try my hand at a bold, riotous floral to surprise her.

Of course, with anything that is “in” at the moment, you know that it will be “out” soon, not to mention that this art is highly derivative. Still, I figure that it’s for a private home – no sales involved- and it was fun slapping colors onto a canvas just because I wanted to paint some “sofa art”.20180315_173702

Sometimes I like to paint with absolutely no pressure as to the outcome. It clears up my confusion about too many things piled up and makes me able to focus on just a few things at a time again.

painting-in-bedroom

You can see, by her bedding, that my niece favors colorful prints. So that was my direction – a large, loud floral painting. I told her that she did not have to use or keep the painting. However, I’m thankful that she loved it and hung it right away.

Painting like this was so enjoyable that I already have five other canvases primed for more stylized floral paintings. Yes, it was that fun! The next set of canvases will be less a conglomeration of paintings that I saw while shopping and more “me”. But, I swear that they will be just as loose and crazy flowers because that was the fun of it. I can picture masterpieces now… hmmm…Did I just pile up even more stuff to do? LMAO…ah well, the lies we tell ourselves…

sandy-signature

art · DIY · Free Printables

Halloween Paper Rosettes

 

paper-decorations

 

This year I’ve put up not one, but TWO Halloween trees! Naturally, that gave me an excuse to make even more Halloween ornaments. I’ve been wanting to make paper rosettes for a while now, but have never had a reason to do so. You see, I’m a functional crafter. I craft when I need something, either to give away or for my own home. The rest of the time I’m pretty busy with work and home chores. Or I’m pretty lazy preferring  to sit on the couch reading or crocheting.

But this year: Let’s make Paper rosettes!

scoreboard

The very first thing that I did in preparation for my ornaments was to purchase a score-board. I knew about them, but had not needed one before now. The thought of measuring 1/4″ spaces along 12″ strips of paper and then carefully accordion folding each one was too much. Then, to multiply the strips to about 20 ornaments…argh. Nope- not gonna do that.

I tossed on some shoes and ran right to the craft store. I found several different makes and sizes of score-boards. The large one was perfect because I knew that Les would use it for his paper creations- books, envelopes, etc. The board was a steal considering how much time it would save and that I had a 50 percent off coupon for that day.

The next step was to go online to see if there were any hints or tips on making small rosettes.

Wow! There sure were and they are so much easier to make than they were way back when I first learned about them. This step-by-step-blog post is incredibly easy to understand and follow if you need. For full instructions, click the photo to the right or click on the link below.

http://penniwigs.blogspot.com/p/how-to-make-paper-rosettes.html

free-vintage-printable.jpg

 

You will most likely want some printables for the centers of the rosettes, some ribbon and assorted glitters (optional of course, but oh so cool.)

After learning to make rosettes the easy way, I scoured the internet for free printable art to attach to my creations. This sheet was put together by me and is free for you to print if you like. the sheet pictured is of a small size for the web. But if you click on it, it will take you to a page with a full sized sheet.

more-rosette-supplies

 

 

The weird but adorable cats and pumpkins in the photo on the left are by Jack Teagle. I got them way back in 2011 or 12. This was the link, but I don’t know if he sells the prints anymore. I cannot find them on his blog today. You may have to contact him or resort to the regular clip art above or search the web of course.

Paper-rosettes-for-HalloweeHere they are! TADA! A bunch of cute little Halloween rosettes that can be used, not only for ornaments for your tree, but also for gift wrapping, assemblage and a ton of other crafts.

Halloween-tree.jpg

And- tada- here’s the tree. I wanted a black tree  that looked kind of like a vintage feather tree. What I found was a green Christmas tree that I spray painted black. Turned out cute if I do say so myself.
S McCall

art · DIY · Free Printables

Free Printable Coloring Pages – Brand new and hot off the press

Interest in the adult coloring book craze has been amazing. You can find book after book in craft stores, book stores and even printable pages online. Of course- don’t you just know- I have to add in a few of my own drawings to the mix.

My drawings are from some of the cards that I made using rubber stamps that I designed for various stamp companies. Some are from paintings that I did and some are from block cuts. The abstracts are drawings that I made especially for this project.

There are three collections assembled here. Click on the image or on the title of the collection that you want to get the full sized PDF file that you can print out for free. No kidding, no come-ons and no unending pesky ads to load up before you can download your coloring pages.

Coloring Collection 1

coloring page

Coloring Collection 2

abstract art color pages

Coloring Collection 3

Have fun! And, if you can, send me pics of your work in the comments section. I would love to see the collaboration between my art and your beautiful coloring of it. S McCall

DIY · Home Decor

How to make REALLY easy and inexpensive pillows

Much to my husband’s chagrin, I LOVE pillows. And I love getting them at really good prices like Ross and TJMax. It is seriously hard for me to resist browsing the pillow aisle at stores. It’s unbelievable how fresh and new you can make a room look just by changing out the accent pillows on a sofa or chair.

It’s also unbelievable how fast you can run out of room in your closet by storing all of your beautiful pillows. Sure, there are Space Bags, but I don’t like looking at a bunch of plastic bags in my closets. My solution is to make pillow covers to go over my existing pillows. That way I get the best of both worlds- lots of pillows taking up very little space. Continue reading “How to make REALLY easy and inexpensive pillows”